PhD: What it means?

PhD, an abbreviation for the Latin term "Philosophiæ Doctor," or "Doctor of Philosophy," is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated a long and productive academic career in their respective fields. The term "philosophy" does not refer to the field of philosophy alone; in fact, it is used in a broader sense, in line with the Greek meaning of "love for wisdom." A person who attains a PhD is automatically awarded the title of 'doctor.'

Attaining a PhD is difficult in all parts of the world because universities have strict requirements on the research work produced by students. In most of the universities, only outstanding students with Master's degrees are considered for a PhD programme. Once accepted into the PhD programme, a student is required to submit a thesis or a dissertation with an in-depth analysis of a research topic. Universities have high expectations from PhD students because the ranking of universities is dependent on the quality of research produced.

In a PhD thesis or dissertation, a student is required to analyse certain theories and question their validity. Also, he/she is required to present findings that may lead to the birth of new theories. In most reputed universities, students have to defend their research papers before a panel of examiners, who are experts and senior professors. Every PhD thesis or dissertation is expected to add value to the existing knowledge bank, instead of reiterating existing theories and concepts. A PhD student is required to venture into the unknown, ask thought-provoking questions, and find answers to questions that have been haunting mankind for decades or even centuries.

As such, a PhD student needs to read a wide range of literature and scholarly articles to gain an in-depth knowledge in a field of study and come up with interesting premises and analyses that are sure to become part of scholarly publications.